Mama/M.A.M.A. (2003)

  • Year: 2003
  • Released: 08 Mar 2003
  • Country: United States
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English
  • MPA Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: N/A
  • Runtime: 100 min
  • Writer: Nonny de la Peña
  • Director: Nonny de la Peña
  • Cast: Misty Jones, Jane Alexander, Julie Patrick
  • Keywords: munchausen syndrome by proxy, munchausen,

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Mama/M.A.M.A. Movie Reviews

Biased and unconvincing

I watched this documentary on TV. Like a previous commenter I had read Julie Gregory’s autobiography and was hoping to gain some insight into the motivation of the perpetrators of this disease. But what I found was a biased opinion piece claiming that the disorder doesn’t even exist.

Of the 3 families followed, one mother was legally exonerated but I wasn’t entirely convinced of her innocence. She may have been innocent of MBP but there was definitely something not right.

Who goes to a mortuary and picks up organs in a plastic bag removed at autopsy and then holds a second funeral for a liver, heart and whatever? A very disturbed person, thats who.

If your child was having a convulsion would you: a) Take them to the doctor b) Call an ambulance c) Video it with a running commentary of other non apparent symptoms to convince the medical fraternity that your child had a real illness.

Guess what the mother in this documentary did.

Julie Gregory’s account states that when she had an appointment with a specialist her mother would give her special ‘medicine’ to convince the doctors that she was really sick.

The reason that a large percentage of MBP children who were on Proplulsid when they died is because the easiest may to make a child sick is to induce vomiting. Propulsid was given for gastric reflux. Propulsid was not taken off the market because of tardic dyskinesia but prolonged QT syndrome. The fact that MBP children on Propulsid had severe tardic dyskinesia only indicates to me that they were being overdosed. Yet these MBP mothers have latched on to the Propulsid market withdrawal as a vindication – it is not.

Not much of a documentary, Very Biased

Opens with the harrowing tale of a woman who’s new born child is removed by Child Protective Services at birth. Distressing right? Even more distressing when you find out this mother had been abusing her other infant children and is accused of injecting them with insulin…. You get a quick brush over on this by the accused Mother and tearful accounts of being wrongfully accused by the family and little to no mention of medical records and other evidence. Turned it off after about 20 mins as it was clear it was only interested in portraying these families as wrongfully accused victims and presented very little findings or evidence from Doctors or court cases.

Wildly Biased Opinion Piece

After reading Julie Gregory’s excellent autobiography “Sickened” (2004), about her experiences growing up with a Munchhausen by Proxy mother, I was eager to rent a documentary and learn more about this strange form of child abuse. Unfortunately, Nonny de la Peña’s “Mama/M.A.M.A.” is an extended opinion piece rather than a balanced work of reporting, choosing to focus exclusively on a trio of mothers who may or may not have been wrongly accused.

While these stories are important to tell–and I suspect that at least one of the three women WAS wrongly accused–it’s evident that the filmmaker doesn’t believe MbP exists at all. In attempting to show how a very real phenomenon can feed into moral panic and promote false accusations, de la Peña eventually goes to the other extreme–denying that the phenomenon exists at all. By the end of this film, you’ll feel frustrated and a bit misled.